bite sized email

Writing for Recipients: From Essay to Email

Have you ever received a commercial email message that reads more like a mundane memorandum? Even worse, have you been asked to create an email campaign with copy that just doesn’t quit?

When writing for email, brevity is not a bonus; it’s an obligation.

This truth may be hard to take for some, but let’s face it — No one is trying to read email. In all likelihood they are hoping to delete it. And along with a relevant subject line and a recognizable “from” name, concise and digestible content is a necessity.

Don’t send out lengthy dissertations and call them marketing messages. Convert that letter to a legitimate email with a chance to convert its recipients. Here are some tips to transform long-winded diatribe into actionable email messages.

From Meaty to Bite-Sized

When converting a collection of paragraph into email-ready content, get out the highlighter. Mark up the most important points. Make sure the key element of the message and the ultimate reason for sending is plain to see in your:

  • Subject Line
  • Preheader
  • Message Headline

Take secondary points and convert them to bullets or short statements that can easily be read and digested quickly. Any content in paragraph form might as well say, “don’t read me.” Employ bold text to draw out the most crucial ingredients for the reader. Use whitespace to separate chunky content that will likely get skipped.

writing for email

Just like website users, don’t expect anyone to read anything, but make it all easy to scan.

Don’t Explain It. Show It.

Q: You know what people can visualize?
A: Visuals.

Take long descriptions and replace them with images that convey meaning. Whether you need stock photography, graphics or custom imagery to get your message to resonate, appreciate the fact that we process visuals 60,000x faster than text.

Tempus fugit, baby.

Think Appetizer, Not Main Course

Unless the sole purpose of your message is to get it read and shared, you are probably trying to drive interest from the email to a shopping cart, booking engine, lead generation form or some other content where the visitor can take an action elsewhere.

Don’t feel like you have to say it all in the email. There are likely points at which you can encourage movement away from the message to something with more substantial value and importance.

Make those opportunities clear with simple and obvious calls to action. Use buttons and text links and position them where they can be seen quickly.

Check out the example below. This demonstrates how you can take an email originally formatted in letter form, to a marketing messages that makes the main points easy to scan and the call to action clear and obvious.

writing for email recipients